Ruth Jones promoted to replace Lloyd Russell-Moyle in Labour’s Defra team

Ruth Jones has been promoted to Keir Starmer’s frontbench and replaced Lloyd Russell-Moyle as shadow minister for natural environment and air quality in Labour’s environment, food and rural affairs team.

Commenting on her appointment, she told LabourList: “I am delighted that Keir Starmer has appointed me to serve as Labour’s new shadow minister for natural environment and air quality.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted just how much more we need to do to ensure we tackle toxic levels of air quality in communities across the country.

“And the pandemic has also reminded us of the beauty of our natural environment, and I look forward to holding Tory Ministers to account on the many promises they have made in recent years and showing the country that our natural world will be safe in the hands of a Keir Starmer led Labour government in Westminster.

“Over the coming months and years, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, and in Westminster, to develop a strong policy platform and to be the strongest advocate for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for us all.”

Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, cited a “campaign by the right-wing media” against him and a “torrent of online hate” when he quit the frontbench in July.

The Newport West representative replacing him was first elected in a 2019 by-election, and Jones was shadow minister for flooding and coastal communities under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Her first tweet in relation to her new brief was supportive of the call by Luke Pollard for grouse shooting to be licensed following a rise in the illegal killings of birds of prey during the pandemic.

Reacting to the appointment, the Shadow Environment Secretary said: “Delighted to welcome @RuthNewportWest as the new Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment and Air Quality.

“Looking forward to working with her on the crucial issue of high air pollution. Fab Shadow DEFRA team alongside @Steph_Peacock, @DanielZeichner and @WhitchurchGirl [Maggie Jones]”.

In the micro-reshuffle Labour frontbench revealed by The Times, new MP for Warrington North Charlotte Nichols will be stepping into Jones’ previous parliamentary private secretary role.

Nichols will now serve as PPS to Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Louise Haigh, as well as PPS to Labour’s international trade lead Emily Thornberry.

She tweeted: “I’m excited for the challenge of joining the Shadow Northern Ireland team as PPS to @LouHaigh, alongside my role as PPS to @EmilyThornberry & the Shadow International Trade team. Lots to learn and get working on!”

The Warrington MP last week worked with Haigh to warn that the Prime Minister had “failed to keep the promise he made to victims of terror” as funding for a local peace charity had not materialised.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation has provided a free national support service for victims of terrorism in the UK over the last two decades, but its future has been left in doubt.

Haigh and Nichols visited the centre to meet with employees and discuss their work, highlighting that Boris Johnson has not delivered on the promised funding to the charity.

The pair, along with deputy leader Angela Rayner, also spoke out against the decision to award a life peerage to Claire Fox, who has been accused of supporting the 1993 IRA Warrington bombings.

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